Monday, July 6, 2009

Dam! July 5

Jerry is subbing for Beverly again. You have been warned...

We got moving a bit slowly today. Beverly 
worked on her blog while I went to the 3rd floor to do laundry. It's a five floor hotel with only two washing machines, so I had to wait. Brooke
helped me pass the time by bringing two games to play - Blink and Uno.

We ate lunch at Burger King, got large drinks for the desert drive (I'm always thirsty out here), then drove toward Hoover Dam. Dave Reith told me it was about an hour from where they lived, so I figured it was a fifty minute drive from our hotel. Wrong! We hit our first traffic jam since the St. Louis rush hour. They are doing road work on route 93 which goes over Hoover
Dam, so the last few miles of the drive took over an hour and the whole trip took over two hours. I was really regretting the
large Coke I had with lunch. We finally arrived, parked in the large garage they have about 1/4 mile from the visitor's center, then went over to see the dam. 

We had to go through a security check and the security guard told me I could not bring in
 my Swiss Army knife. I had to either take it back to the van or leave it there where it would be given to the police and I would not get it back. Apparently they were worried that somebody
was going to take down the entire Hoover Dam with a pocket knife. Now, the same part of the government runs the St. Louis Arch and they had no trouble with my pocket knife. Apparently
the arch is built a little stronger than the Hoover Dam. You may think that a structure over six hundred feet high and six hundred feet thick made of concrete would be 
invulnerable to a pocket knife, but, according to the Department of the Interior,
you would be wrong. So I walked back to the van (it was 109 degrees again - apparently that is the July thermostat setting here) and placed my knife inside it, thus assuring residents of the southwest of water and electricity for another day.

The dam itself is quite a feet of human effort. People did amazingly dangerous jobs to get it completed in less time and at less cost than expected. Nearly one hundred people died on the job from blasts, falling rocks, and other workplace accidents. In all of the heat they wore corduroy clothing because it did not wear our quickly! Workers made anywhere from 50 cents an hour to 1.25 an hour, depending on the skill necessary for the job. 

As I looked at it I wondered if we could even consider doing the same th
ing now. Would regulation and lawsuits make it impossible to build such a hydroelectric dam? I don't know. The hydroelectric dams on the Potomac have long been abandoned. Are there still hydroelectric dams being built anyplace in the USA? 

After driving back to Las Vegas in a muck quicker 40 minutes we ate with my cousin Wayne Murphy at the casino where he works, The Palms. He bought us a dinner at the buffet beside the gaming area. It was great! I had as many green vegetables as I could eat, since I have hardly touched one since leaving home. We also enjoyed crab legs and a variety of desserts. When we finished Wayne showed us the poker room where he is a Texas Hold'em dealer. Later in the evening he called and told us he had a few celebrities at his table - one of the Waynons brothers (sorry - don't know how to spell that name) and Lou Diamond Phillips. 

We drove up and down The Strip, looking at the sights. It really is interesting to see The Strip at night. There really are lots of little wedding chapels and we saw one couple who had just gotten married. We got to see the water show in front of the Bellagio, once when it was light out and once after dark. We also went into the Bellagio and saw the gardens they maintain there. They have huge glass flowers, birds, and lots or plant life. People must lose a huge amount of money gambling to pay for all of it.

1 comment:

  1. Snort, Jerry, you crack me up. I LOVED the Hoover Dam. And isn't Vegas a hoot? It looked to us like a miniature golf course for the gods.